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Ishta Mercurio and Jen Corace (The Children's Book Podcast #538)

September 27, 2019



Ishta Mercurio (@IshtaWrites) and Jen Corace (@corachacha) share SMALL WORLD, their new picture book. The story circles around Nanda, a girl who dreams of space. As Nanda grows, her experience of the world and also her view of the world grows. In that way it’s a story of expanding circle, like tossing a stone into a pond and observing the ripples outward. Ishta talks of searching for those right words that feel good in your mouth. The result is a poetic text that mimics in feeling the patterned and precise and vibrant illustrations Jen created. Jen comments that the work she was doing at the time on the book felt innate and that she had in mind the science and math that surrounds us all the time. What we are left to hold in our hand is a book and a story that resonates out to readers and out through readers.


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When Nanda is born, the whole of her world is the circle of her mother’s arms. But as she grows, the world grows too. It expands outward—from her family, to her friends, to the city, to the countryside. And as it expands, so does Nanda’s wonder in the underlying shapes and structures patterning it: cogs and wheels, fractals in snowflakes. Eventually, Nanda’s studies lead her to become an astronaut and see the small, round shape of Earth far away. A geometric meditation on wonder, Small World is a modern classic that expresses our big and small place in the vast universe.







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